WINNIPEG - Ondrej Pavelec and Alexei Ponikarovsky are heading home to stay sharp during the NHL lockout.
Allan Walsh, the agent for Pavelec, took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon to announce his client had agreed to terms with HC Ocelari Trinec in the Czech Extraliga, the top league in the Czech Republic.
Pavelec, a 25-year-old from Kladno, Czech Republic, is coming off a strong season with the Winnipeg Jets that saw him post a 29-28-9 record, a 2.91 goals against average and .908 save percentage in 68 games.
Originally a second round (41st overall) pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Pavelec signed a five-year contract with the Jets in June worth $19.5 million.
However, Pavelec found himself in some hot water during the summer when he was charged with driving under the influence in the Czech Republic, an incident that included a six-month prison term that was suspended, along with losing his license for 20 months.
Ponikarovsky, who was one of the key free-agent signings by the Jets this off-season, has signed a contract with Donbass Donetsk, a Ukrainian team in the Kontinental Hockey League — according to a report from RIA Novosti, a Russian International News Agency.
Ponikarovsky, a 32-year-old from Kiev, Ukraine, had 14 goals and 44 points last season, splitting time with the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils.
Fellow NHLer Ruslan Fedotenko of the Philadelphia Flyers also signed with Donbass Donetsk on Sunday.